Forty animal rights activists were arrested at a protest Tuesday at a California egg farm after the demonstrators started breaking doors and removing chickens. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office received a call around noon from Sunrise Egg Farms in Petaluma that trespassers were on the property in the 300 block of Liberty Road. It was also reported that the activists had stormed the property, broken doors to chicken coops, and removed chickens.
Upon arrival, deputies were met by approximately 200 people setting up a coordinated protest. Organizers of the demonstration, Direct Action Everywhere, demanded to be allowed access to the property and videotape what they perceived to be sick or improperly cared for chickens.
Management of the egg farm agreed to let an organizer come onto his property to view the chickens, but negotiations broke down as protesters demanded that 20 people be allowed access with video cameras and to take any birds they felt were sick or injured.
After three hours of negotiating, organizers felt they wanted to advance their cause and publicity by getting arrested. They cooperatively worked with deputies, advising they had 40 people who predetermined that they were going to be arrested for trespassing. A transport bus took them to the Sonoma County Jail where they were booked and released on a citation to appear in court.
Deputies did take a report from the activists to be forwarded to the California Department of Food and Agriculture which regulates commercial chicken farms.
Sunrise Farms LLC are certified by the nonprofit Humane Farm Animal Care and meet the application and inspection process to label their eggs as Certified Humane Raised and Handled.